Judy - Donor Mother


Donor Stories: Judy

On March 3, 2009 I received the phone call every parent fears.

“Your son has been involved in a serious accident; how quickly can you get here?”

As I raced to the hospital, I would soon learn more about the extent of my son’s injuries.

Jake’s car had collided with a train sometime in the wee hours of the morning. As doctors and nurses entered the room with empty stares and soft trembling voices, they uttered, “We are doing everything we can; the situation is grim.” Jake suffered head trauma and a lack of oxygen to his brain for an extended amount of time caused irreversible brain damage. For thirty hours, family and friends were at his bedside praying for a miracle.

Then it was to be – my precious son Jake was to be the miracle.

In all the chaos and emotion of the next few minutes and hours, I reflected back to a summer afternoon when Jake and I were talking about my decision to be an organ, eye and tissue donor. I recall Jake telling me, “If it is no good for me, someone else should benefit.” Thinking of this particular day, I knew what we had to do and we talked to the hospital and Donor Alliance about organ and tissue donation.

Jake was always thinking of others. He often fed the homeless, gave them rides and offered them the clothes off his back. It was not unusual to be downtown and notice a hoodie or hat that Jake once wore. Generosity is what he was known for.

Now, he would continue to give in his loss. Six individuals and their families, who were praying for a miracle that day, received one. Jake’s liver, kidneys, pancreas, and heart valves were all transplanted and our family has been blessed to hear from each of his recipients.

“Each day brings new challenges, but I have learned that in each challenge we have choices. Jake always made the choice to live, to love and to laugh. It is by the grace of God, the love of family and friends and the compassion of complete strangers, that we survived losing him. That is why I choose to keep Jake’s spirit alive by facing each day just as he would have.”

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“We knew it was the right thing to do and never gave it a second thought.”

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“The decision to remove Liam’s ventilator was the most difficult decision we have ever had to make. However, when we were approached with the news that Liam could be a heart donor, we made the decision to donate without hesitation.”

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“We are so proud of our daughter and hold her memory high in our hearts. Though nothing will ever replace our dear Eva, we do take solace in the fact that her loving spirit gave new life to six others.”

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“With time, I have realized what a great impact this unspeakably tragic event has had. With the gifts from my sister Perri, three lives were saved and many others have been changed. To me, there is nothing more special than the gift of life.”

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“I feel that I, too, am living again since Nicole’s death. Knowing Nicole saved so many lives through her gifts, I feel such peace and calmness in my heart.”

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“My son Tyler’s gifts will continue to give a better life to so many people; and knowing this has done so much for our family.”

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“The decision to give a better quality of life to another was not something I had to think twice about…My husband Brad was one of the most generous people I’ve ever met—to let his organs go to waste when they could save someone else would have been yet another tragedy.”

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